Jump to content

British Columbia Aviation Museum, Vancouver Island


Latinbear
 Share

Recommended Posts

The BC Aviation Museum is based in North Saanich on the Island adjacent to Victoria International Airport, some 40 minutes' drive from the provincial capital Victoria and 10-15 minutes' drive from the ferry terminal at Schwartz Bay. 

 

As per the name the museum's theme is aircraft associated with British Columbia and offers a selection of civil and military aircraft with associated displays and artefacts. Unfortunately, I only had an hour to look round as we needed to catch the ferry to the mainland but there is enough here to keep a visitor happy for a full morning or afternoon. The museum has its own Lancaster which is currently in large and small pieces. Built shortly before the war ended it never saw combat but instead operated in the maritime patrol role in Canada until retirement in 1963. It then sat on a pedestal in Toronto before being acquired by the museum in 2018. The aim was to restore it to flying condition although my understanding is that this is not feasible owing to structural issues in some of the aircraft's sections. The expectation was that it would take 10 years to reassemble and refurbish but this target is realistically a bit of a stretch.

 

Opening hours are 10-4pm, Thursday through to Tuesday, closed on Wednesdays. The entry fee is a very reasonable CAD$15. The museum is staffed by friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers. 

 

More details of the museum and each of the airframes on display can be found here: British Columbia Aviation Museum (bcam.net)  

 

1. The day after the Queen's death. It was noticeable that very shortly after the news broke flags on government and

prominent private buildings moved to half-staff.

A1A_8009 (2)

 

2.

DSC_1201

 

3.

DSC_1247

 

4. The refurbishment hangar with pieces of the Lancaster. 

DSC_1225

 

5. The Lancaster's centre section. 

DSC_1220

 

6. The wings sit behind the fuselage. 

DSC_1288

 

7.

DSC_1291

 

8.

DSC_1229

 

9.

DSC_1230

 

10.

DSC_1273

 

11. Viscount 

DSC_1263

 

12. Bell 47D

DSC_1307

 

13. The child in each of us will be delighted that you sit in the cockpit of the Silver Star.

DSC_1308

 

14. This Bolingbroke is a hybrid from two aircraft. 

DSC_1309 (3)

 

15. Anson Mk 2 

DSC_1318

 

16. A Harvard is to the right of the picture. 

DSC_1253

 

17. Tracker 

A1A_8015

 

18. A26 Invader converted to a fire bomber. 

A1A_8017

 

That's it, thanks for looking. 

  • Like 8
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Alpha Delta 210 said:

Looks like an excellent little museum. Thanks for sharing. 

 

(I don't suppose you made it to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Ontario,  did you?)

 

Thanks AD. Unfortunately, Ontario was too far away and is a trip in itself. With luck, I'll go next year and perhaps be fortunate to fly in the Lancaster. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice report and pics. I went there back in 2004 on my second visit to Canada. The museum became my first port of call after disembarking the ferry.  It's a lovely place but from your photos I see there are a few types that were not there on my visit. These being the Lanc (which I saw a couple years later in 2006 at the Downsview museum before that one closed,), the Viscount, Alouette III (just visible in one of your pics) and theta anonymous looking seaplane (photos 3 and 9) on build. The T-33 had only just arrived before my visit I was told and was their first jet. One of the staff offered me a complete working Link Trainer as they had a few of them. I gratefully welcomed that but had to turn it down as I reckoned it would be a bit costly to ship it to the UK and nowhere for me to keep it!!!

I recall there was a Chipmunk ex  Army  AIr Corps among a couple other types and outside a much-modified Beech 18 and known as a Pac Aero something or other.   Across the dip outside I remeber spotting a HU-16 ALbatross and Bevars galore!!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Latinbear said:

 

Thanks AD. Unfortunately, Ontario was too far away and is a trip in itself. With luck, I'll go next year and perhaps be fortunate to fly in the Lancaster. 

Worth getting to. The CWH was one of the four museums I managed to get to on my 2006 trip to Canada.   They were, Name eludes me now, but it was at Downsview, the RCAF Museum at Trenton, CWH at Hamilton and the best one for me the excellent CASM at Rockliffe Ottawa.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Paul J said:

Nice report and pics. I went there back in 2004 on my second visit to Canada. The museum became my first port of call after disembarking the ferry.  It's a lovely place but from your photos I see there are a few types that were not there on my visit. These being the Lanc (which I saw a couple years later in 2006 at the Downsview museum before that one closed,), the Viscount, Alouette III (just visible in one of your pics) and theta anonymous looking seaplane (photos 3 and 9) on build. The T-33 had only just arrived before my visit I was told and was their first jet. One of the staff offered me a complete working Link Trainer as they had a few of them. I gratefully welcomed that but had to turn it down as I reckoned it would be a bit costly to ship it to the UK and nowhere for me to keep it!!!

I recall there was a Chipmunk ex  Army  AIr Corps among a couple other types and outside a much-modified Beech 18 and known as a Pac Aero something or other.   Across the dip outside I remeber spotting a HU-16 ALbatross and Bevars galore!!

 

Many thanks. Your comment has made me realise I posted image 3 twice. Opps and now corrected. The seaplane you refer to is a domestic aircraft designed and built by two Vancouver based boat buildering brothers called the Hoffar's. The museum's exhibit is a full-scale model.  I imagine the museum has changed quite a lot in 18 years since your visit! It was alluded to rather than specifically mentioned but there is a desire to build another hangar, possible to house the Lancaster, but this would cost several tens of millions of dollars. A nice offer of the Link trainer but yes, shipping costs would have been very painful indeed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Paul J said:

Worth getting to. The CWH was one of the four museums I managed to get to on my 2006 trip to Canada.   They were, Name eludes me now, but it was at Downsview, the RCAF Museum at Trenton, CWH at Hamilton and the best one for me the excellent CASM at Rockliffe Ottawa.

 

Thanks for the suggestions. When I was doing my research on Comox I discovered that the RCAF has a number of museums and one of the ambitions is to do a cross-country road trip which would incorporate them but as ever time is the dominant element. The CWH museum would be a special trip and entirely justifiable to SWMBO I think. 

2 hours ago, Alpha Delta 210 said:

That's on my bucket list too, after chasing the CWHM Lancaster "Vera" around the UK in 2014! 😁

 

You know it makes sense Rodders! 😁

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah yes  I also  managed to visit Comox on my visit in 2004. At the same time while on  Vancouver Isand,  I got to see the enormous Martin Mars  on Sproat lake. 

The trip was quite a long one as we ended up at Port Hardy, onto a ferry up the inside passage to Prince Rupert  where we had a flight in a Beaver floatplsne, then across to Jasper and down to Banff and finally to Calgary.  I didn't  do the museum on this occasion as I had previously visited it on my very first holiday to Canada in 2002!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A cracking museum with a variety of interesting and rare exhibits. Had no idea about the Lanc rebuild which looks like quite an undertaking, but hopefully one day will see fruition. You've certainly inspired me to add Canada to a future aviation visits itinerary and thanks for sharing.

 

Mark

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Paul J said:

Ah yes  I also  managed to visit Comox on my visit in 2004. At the same time while on  Vancouver Isand,  I got to see the enormous Martin Mars  on Sproat lake. 

The trip was quite a long one as we ended up at Port Hardy, onto a ferry up the inside passage to Prince Rupert  where we had a flight in a Beaver floatplsne, then across to Jasper and down to Banff and finally to Calgary.  I didn't  do the museum on this occasion as I had previously visited it on my very first holiday to Canada in 2002!

 

That was quite a trip! We drove past Sproat Lake on our way to and from Tofino. Spectacular scenery and seeing the Mars must have been a real bonus too. We had thought about going up to Port Hardy because there is a highly rated bear watching outfit based in nearly Telegraph Cove. However, it was a long way and we would have ended up spending too long in the car. Funnily enough we did the inside passage too but that was south to Prince Rupert from Juneau if memory serves me right. It was 30 years ago so the memory is a little hazy.  Jasper and Banff are wonderful places although the area around Jasper was hit by a huge wildfire caused by a lightning strike while we were on the island and as a result was closed to all visitors. There were plenty of Twin Otters and Beavers buzzing around the Island but we didn't get the change to fly in either type of aircraft. We did however take a boat trip from Campbell River to the Toba Inlet and these are what we saw!  

 

A1A_7364 (2)

 

A1A_7372 (3)

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, canberraman said:

A cracking museum with a variety of interesting and rare exhibits. Had no idea about the Lanc rebuild which looks like quite an undertaking, but hopefully one day will see fruition. You've certainly inspired me to add Canada to a future aviation visits itinerary and thanks for sharing.

 

Mark

 

Thanks very much Mark, it was really nice to do some aviation things while there and what really made it interesting was the BC focus of both Comox and the BC museum. While we were in the town of Campbell River we looked in an estate agent's window and a house in a remote part of somewhere called Gilford Island caught my eye. It was 28 miles by boat from a town called Port Hardy and the only access was by boat or seaplane! Seeing both the number of boats and planes brought home the reality that for many people that is how they get around the remoter parts of the region. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...